Helicobacter pylori and Gastric Cancer: Timing and Impact of Preventive Measures

  • Marino Venerito
  • Riccardo Vasapolli
  • Peter MalfertheinerEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 908)


Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a Gram negative spiraliform bacterium that is commonly found in the stomach. H. pylori infection is still one of the world’s most frequent infections, present in the stomachs of approximately one-half of the world’s people. H. pylori infection is etiologically linked to histologic chronic active gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, and primary B-cell gastric lymphoma (gastric MALT lymphoma) and represents the major risk factor for the development of sporadic non-cardia gastric cancer (GC) of both intestinal and diffuse type. Studies that have examined the impact of GC prevention through H. pylori eradication have shown mixed results, but recent data suggest that prevention is only efficacious in patients without intestinal metaplasia or dysplasia. This indicates that, like in Barrett’s esophagus, we need better clinical risk markers to indicate which patients are at greatest risk of developing cancer to guide clinical strategies. Furthermore, recent epidemiological data have suggested a possible contribution of H. pylori in modifying the risk of developing other gastrointestinal malignancies (including esophageal, pancreatic, hepatocellular, and colorectal cancer), although mechanistically these associations remain unexplained. We review clinically relevant aspects of H. pylori infection in the context of GC development as well as studies that have examined the impact of eradication on GC development and, lastly, discuss these recent epidemiological studies connecting H. pylori infection to extragastric gastrointestinal malignancies.


Helicobacter pylori Gastric cancer Intestinal metaplasia Prevention strategies Eradication Gastrointestinal malignancies 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marino Venerito
    • 1
  • Riccardo Vasapolli
    • 1
  • Peter Malfertheiner
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Infectious DiseasesOtto-von-Guericke University HospitalMagdeburgGermany

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